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Assistant Superintendent New Jersey Transit
Not long after Emanuel "Manny" Couto joined New Jersey Transit in 1993, a supervisor suggested he was overqualified for his job at the time: a storeroom clerk in the bus division. The supervisor encouraged Couto to apply for NJ Transit's rail operations locomotive engineer training program.
Couto took the supervisor's advice and passed the rigorous 18-month process to become a locomotive engineer. Then he worked his way up the railroad's ranks to senior road foreman, senior trainmaster and acting chief trainmaster. Today, Couto is assistant superintendent for the Hoboken division, where he oversees day-to-day rail operations.
Couto also oversees operation of the Frank R. Lautenberg Station at Secaucus Junction, where 11 of 12 NJ Transit rail lines connect; and the Meadowlands line to MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Jets and Giants. Couto serves on the rail operations team that's drafting a transportation plan for Super Bowl XLVIII, which MetLife Stadium will host in 2014. He's also a process manager for the Federal Railroad Administration's C3RS safety program.
"Manny has shown great professionalism, drive, determination, integrity, out-of-the-box thinking and a can-do attitude — all with a focus on the customer," says Kevin O'Connor, NJ Transit's vice president and general manager of rail operations.
His wife, Mariela, who has endured serious health issues. "No matter what she is faced with, she is determined to be a good mother and role model to her family. If she can be the best person she can be, there is no reason I can't be the best person I can be."
Five-year career plan?
To become the Hoboken division's general superintendent, then deputy general manager of the department.
An interesting fact?
"I'm probably the only person born and raised in the city that listens to country music."
Spending time with family, cycling.